a book that went on and on

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
And if life were eternal, wouldn't it lose much of what gives it shape, structure, meaning and purpose? Think about reading a good book or eating a delicious cake. These may be great pleasures, but one of the things that makes them pleasures is that they come to an end. A book that went on and on forever and a cake that you never stopped eating would both soon lose their appeal.
What should we think about death?, a YT video

Is it correct to omit "if" and use "that" instead in such a sentence? I mean, I'd expect:
A book, if it went on and on forever, and a cake, if you never stopped eating it, would both soon lose their appeal.
Thanks.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I think you have the right idea, but your version does not sound quite natural, nor does it quite capture the idea expressed in the original. It may be because the "if" always implies "or if not" and the thrust of the speech is "the result of eternity", not "the contrast of eternity with mortality".
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    the thrust of the speech is "the result of eternity", not "the contrast of eternity with mortality".
    But "the result of eternity" is the latter part of the sentence, with "would": "would both soon lose their appeal".
    nor does it quite capture the idea expressed in the original. It may be because the "if" always implies "or if not"
    Why? First of all, the "if + past tense" expresses unreality here. Because actually both a book and a cake come to an end...
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Well, it just sounds unusual to me when the conjunction "that" is used this way in a second conditional. But if it's used, then ok:)
    Thank you, all.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Well, it just sounds unusual to me when the conjunction "that" is used this way in a second conditional. But if it's used, then ok:)
    Thank you, all.
    But these are not conditional statements, they are hypothetical, but not, in my mind, conditional. Maybe I shouldn't make that distinction.
    Here is the non-hypothetical version.
    A book that goes on and on forever and a cake that you never stop eating both soon lose their appeal.
    Now you are shifting to a hypothetical statement.
    A book that went on and on forever and a cake that you never stopped eating would both soon lose their appeal.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    But these are not conditional statements, they are hypothetical, but not, in my mind, conditional. Maybe I shouldn't make that distinction.
    Here is the non-hypothetical version.
    A book that goes on and on forever and a cake that you never stop eating both soon lose their appeal.
    Now you are shifting to a hypothetical statement.
    A book that went on and on forever and a cake that you never stopped eating would both soon lose their appeal.
    But on the other hand, in both statements, a book going on and on and you never stopping eating a cake are both conditions for their appeal being lost, right?...
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    No. They are parts of the description of that hypothetical book - not dependent conditions of the book.
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Are you trying to construe that as a conjunction? it's a relative pronoun in both cases.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top